Frederik Hanses

Project Manager, Yara

Former BI student Frederik Hanses is 27 years old, he manages a project with 30 members and «some» million euros.

Despite his relatively young age, Hanses has built an impressive resume. During 2015 he was promoted twice, and currently works as one of Yara International’s youngest project managers, he manages a team of nearly 30 people spread across several countries. When he is not traveling, he is stationed in Yara International’s newly renovated headquarters in Oslo. Around 300 people from 29 different nations work in the building.

- It really is an international place, you can hear so many different languages when you walk around the halls, says Frederik.

High mountains and flat hierarchies
Hanses moved to Norway for the first time as an exchange student at BI for a bachelor programme in 2010. He was born and raised in Bramsche in Germany, and lived in the Netherlands during his bachelor studies, before he decided to go back to BI to take his master’s degree in 2012. Although the German loves Oslo and the Norwegian mountains and fjords, there was no guarantee that he would remain here after his studies.

- An important criterion for me was whether I would feel comfortable with the business culture. The Scandinavian business culture is unique, says Frederik.

During the summer vacation between the first and second year of his master programme, he got an internship in the communications department at Statoil. Previously he has worked for the French L’Oréal in Dusseldorf, and the transition from there to the Norwegian culture was great.

- It is a very flat organisational structure here. When I was finished at Statoil I remember my boss liked the report I had made and wanted me to present it to management. In Germany, that would never have happened. I would have given the report to my boss, who would then present it to the management. One of the things I like about the Norwegian culture is that you are more responsible for what you deliver, Frederik explains.

It was after working in Statoil that Hanses realised he liked the Norwegian business culture and began to look for jobs in Oslo.

- I wanted to work in an international company. I remember we had a case on Yara in one of our classes, which made me interested in the company. I started looking at their website and found a job opening as a sourcing analyst.

Life at BI
- Yara is an international company with Norwegian culture and roots, quite similar to BI. My time at BI was truly an international experience!

At BI, Frederik was in a class that consisted of nearly 40 percent international students. This gave him good foundation for working in a team with many different cultures.

- In the first semester of my master’s I had no idea what to expect. I had never used references before, I was not used to the research style of writing assignments as they used at BI. Working with new people and new groups all the time. After the first semester and I got my grades, I relaxed. I believe you do not necessarily need to study hard, but rather study smart. Focus on what you can do, rather than spending all your time on what you cannot. No one is good at everything, advises Frederik.

During the master studies, the international student learnt Norwegian well, which he believes is important if one wants to remain in the country.

- Although the main working language is English here at Yara, it is an advantage to know Norwegian as all of small talk usually is in Norwegian. It is important to be a part of the casual work environment.

The path forward and up
The path forward and up for Hanses has not been paved by any magic recipe. He says that hard work from day one that has been a driving force for his success.

- When I got the job in Yara I was thrilled, but what surprised me a bit was that I had to begin immediately.
He was offered the job in January, when he still had six months left of his master studies. Everyday life was already fully booked with lectures, the master thesis and a part-time job as a student assistant.

- The plan became to write my thesis on weekends. This did not work well. My original plan was to finish the thesis in late May, but what happened was that I only really started properly on the thesis right before the end of May. Keeping on like that is not something I would recommend for anyone. Juggling a new job at Yara, the position as a student assistant and continuing to write my thesis, gave me no spare time.

Fortunately, it went well: Hanses delivered his master thesis with brilliant results and got to concentrate on doing well at Yara. He points to the practical experience and interpersonal relationships as important factors in his steep climb on the career ladder.

- I think my previous internships have helped me to develop so quickly at Yara. They taught me the soft skills, such as who you should talk to and how to relate to different people in different positions, which in turn has accelerated my career growth.
This profile was published January 2016.

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